KST Blog

  1. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Clara Kent & Ian Brill debut Aura: Reimagined, an immersive audiovisual experience

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, NOVEMBER 16, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the Freshworks showing, Aura: Reimagined by Clara Kent and Ian Brill, December 3 & 4, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue. 

    Utilizing light sculptures created by Ian Brill and soundscapes with vocal arrangements, Aura: Reimagined is a personal testament by Clara Kent surrounding the experiences of Black artists in the city. Displaying narratives of frustration, celebration, and most importantly, facing the mirror of self-reflection, the work will merge art and music to immerse the audience into a new world where they can experience the music as it is performed.

    The goal is for people to connect with their emotions and inner truths, which we tend to hide away from ourselves, and come to peace with those things. We wish to take people into a new world but not distract them from themselves, using art and music to usher the audience into a vibrant space in expression and honesty in the message. I hope people see that no matter the obstacles they face within or out, they are capable of shining out and that we all have unique colors to display, like an aura,” reflects Clara Kent. 

    The immersive, audiovisual experience will feature the music and performance of Clara Kent, coupled with cued light sculptures created by Ian Brill. “The two of us are exploring ways of adding another dimension to her compositions using the visual methodologies and language of expression that I have been exploring with the visual aspects of my art practice. Audiences will see something powerful, unique, and unforgettable,” states Brill. 

    Clara Kent is an Afro-Oglala Lakota singer-songwriter and emcee from Homewood, PA, whose integrity and range in creating music, visual art, events, and connections within the community have made her well known amongst many organizations in Pittsburgh, her peers, and the music community. Artist Ian Brill creates interactive, performative, and multisensory environments that focus on the accumulation of form through process. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    Aura: Reimagined is presented as a work in progress at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, December 3 and Saturday, December 4 at 8:00pm. There will be a discussion panel with the artists following the performance. 

    Tickets for Aura: Reimagined are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Clara Kent is an Afro-Oglala Lakota singer-songwriter and emcee from Homewood, Pa, a Pittsburgh neighborhood known for its talented people. Clara is a self-proclaimed Multidimensional Artistic Individual for very valid reasons. Clara Kent’s integrity and range in creating music, visual art, events, and connections within the community have made her well known amongst peers, the music community, and many organizations in Pittsburgh. 

    Clara is a wearer of many hats! Most known for her professional music sombrero, Clara Kent has graced many notable stages across the country. Tempo Networks Grammy Broadcast at BBKings in Time Square, Opener for Wyclef Jean at SXSW, WYEP Summerfest 2019, Comcast’s Light Up Night 2018 & 2019, a 2019 Sofar Sounds Tour, Return the Heart Foundation Broadcast with Mac DeMarco, and many more. Kent earned a cover feature in the Pittsburgh City Paper in April 2018, named “Person of the Year: Music” 2019, and most recently landed an international feature in Photo Vogue Italia in May 2021.

    Kent is set to re-release her statement project AURA under the title ‘Aura’s Imagination,’ featuring tracks and collaborations by Yorel Tifsim, Benji., Mani Bahia, and Tribe Eternal’s Bilal Abbey and Pharaoh Lum in early Spring of 2022.

    Pittsburgh Resident Ian Brill‘s work focuses on the accumulation of form through process. Through the creation of interactive, performative, and multi-sensorial environments, he considers the boundaries of becoming (versus being) and our immersive relationship with technology. His installations, performances, and writing have been presented internationally, at conferences, festivals, museums, and galleries. Currently, he teaches at Penn State University.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

  2. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Find your rhythm with Synchronized: with Soy Sos, featuring dance and music duo slowdanger

    PITTSBURGH, PA, November 9, 2021Join Soy Sos and slowdanger at KST’s Alloy Studios for Synchronized: with Soy Sos, an intimate, immersive sound experience with modular synths, electronics, and a mix of traditional instruments! 

    Using synchronization-based ensembles, Soy Sos collaborates with contemporary sound artists to create live, improvised sound-scapes as STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos dancers move throughout the space. During the evening, slowdanger will collaborate with Soy Sos, creating saturated and atmospheric worlds for movement with layers of live vocal loops, field recordings, and sparse deconstructed rhythms. This informal evening will take place in the Upstairs Studio at KST’s Alloy Studios, giving the evening a loft-like industrial tone. Come for the vibes, sound discussions, and dance! 

    You’ll have two opportunities to catch the bold, collaborative soundscapes of Synchronized: with Soy Sos: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 and Wednesday, December 15, 2021. Special guest artist for Wednesday, December 15 will be announced at a later date. Both events will take place at KST’s Alloy Studios in the atmospheric upstairs studio, located at 5530 Penn Avenue. 

    Synchronized: with Soy Sos is in collaboration with Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers and is presented as part of the PearlArts @ KST Mutual Aid Residency.

    For more information and ticket sales, visit kelly-strayhorn.org.

    Herman Pearl (Soy Sos) is the head engineer and owner of Tuff Sound Recording, as well as the sound designer and co-artistic director of PearlArts Studios. Through PearlArts, Herman creates soundscapes to serve as a component to contemporary dance. As a sound designer and recording engineer, Herman’s repertoire includes a wide variety of projects and collaborators. His work has been featured in various independent films and documentaries, video games, and advertising. He has designed soundscapes for numerous choreographers. He has collaborated with many visual artists to create installations and touring exhibits. He has recorded and produced work for a plethora of recording artists across genres and techniques. Herman has performed, created, and recorded his own music for over 35 years. Photo Credit: Kitoko Chargois 

    slowdanger is a Pittsburgh based, multidisciplinary performance entity founded in 2013 by co-artistic directors taylor knight and anna thompson. They use electronic instrumentation, vocalization and choreographic, improvisational and contemporary dance/performance frameworks to create work at the intersection of movement, sound and technology. Their performance work largely centers the body and researches its relationship to other bodies, the environment, sensory information, technology and the unknown/unknowable. The name, slowdanger, was inspired by the road signs that signify a demolition of old surfaces to build upon the remnants. They continue to return to this overarching concept cyclically in performance creation; rebuilding, slowing down to examine the remains and re-imagine new futures. slowdanger’s performance work has been featured across the United States and Canada in venues ranging from proscenium theaters and galleries to nightclubs and dive bars. From directing music videos to scoring  plays,  slowdanger transforms its shape to adapt to a variety of different containers. They use sound as a physical extension of their bodily practices, to further embody and connect with their audience. More info at www.slowdangerslowdanger.com. Photo credit: Anita Buzzy Prentiss

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

    PearlArts is a dance-focused arts organization that also provides music and media arts programming. PearlArts offers artistic experiences through creative residencies, innovative collaborations, and a broad range of dance and sound education and outreach opportunities. PearlArts is the creative parent organization for STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos and Tuff Sound Recording. PearlArts will operate in residence at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater Alloy Studios for 2021 – 2023 as part of the PearlArts @ KST Mutual Aid Residency. 

     

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  3. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: My People Festival celebrates Queer & Trans Artists of Color, centering work of Pittsburgh native, choreographer Kyle Abraham

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, NOVEMBER 1, 2021Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to announce the lineup for My People: A QTPOC Festival of the Arts, taking place Wednesday, November 10 – Saturday, November 13, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios, 5530 Penn Avenue, and  Byham Theater, 101 6th Street. 

    Created in honor of KST’s namesake Billy Strayhorn, My People is Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s annual multi-disciplinary festival featuring Queer and Trans Artists of Color. This year, the program is co-presented with Pittsburgh Dance Council, a division of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, and will center the work of Black, Queer, Pittsburgh native and MacArthur Genius Award Winning Choreographer, Kyle Abraham.  

    “Billy Strayhorn was a revolutionary because he was living as an out queer Black artist in a time when it was challenging enough to live freely as a Black person in segregationist United States, let alone be open about one’s sexuality and identity. We celebrate his life and legacy by boldly celebrating the art and stories of Queer and Transgender People of Color here in his hometown of Pittsburgh,” stated Joseph Hall, Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater. 

    Kyle Abraham sees this engagement as a homecoming and a chance to share art that reflects the city. “So much of the work I have made over the years is, in a lot of ways, rooted in a street or many streets in Pittsburgh. And this is one of those works,” he says. “This is Pittsburgh.”

    In addition to performances, the company will be teaching classes throughout the city and region at institutions including Point Park University, Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12 , Slippery Rock University, and more! Abraham himself will teach a Community Class at KST’s Alloy Studios presented by PearlArts on Friday, November 12, from 10:00am – 12:00pm. 

    My People 2021 additionally features Abraham in conversation about self love, Black love and the multiplicity of ways love is exchanged between queer folx and across race with Brian Broome, Staycee Pearl, and sarah huny young, on Wedneaday, November 10 at 7:00pm. And don’t miss the evening of Pittsburgh based queer artists curated by sarah huny young and performing at KST’s Alloy Studios on Friday, November 12 at 7:00pm. The four day festival, culminates with A.I.M by Kyle Abraham’s newest work, An Untitled Love, on Saturday, November 13 at the Byham Theater. 

    Tickets for My People are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the events. For An Untitled Love tickets, information, and venue safety and health protocol entry requirements, visit: www.TrustArts.org or call 412-456-6666.

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

     

    ABOUT PITTSBURGH DANCE COUNCIL 

    The Pittsburgh Dance Council joined the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust as a programming division in 2002. The mission of Pittsburgh Dance Council is to bring the best contemporary dance companies from around the world to the Cultural District. Each season, Pittsburgh Dance Council presents diverse, world-class contemporary works, including U.S. and world premieres.

    The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District.  The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization.  A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life.  Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.

    ABOUT KELLY STRAYHORN THEATER 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

     

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  4.  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Freshworks program welcomes artists Livefromthecity & Sheryland Neal in 40412, which explores the concept of home 

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, OCTOBER 19, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the Freshworks showing, 40412 by Livefromthecity and Sheryland Neal, November 5-6, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios. 

    Jordan Howard, known as Livefromthecity, is a hip-hop songwriter, producer, studio engineer, and part-time arts educator located in Pittsburgh, PA. Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sheryland Neal has a background in performance, theatre, and broadcast journalism. 40412 combines musical and audio-visual elements with unique stories about Pittsburgh from the varying perspectives of a native and a transplanted resident with a vested interest in the city.

    According to recent census data comparing 2010 to 2020, Allegheny County has grown by 2.7%, a population increase that many are contributing to the new opportunities in the region. For the art community, this growth has created a newfound collaboration between native Pittsburghers and new faces. “Coming to Pittsburgh from Atlanta, it felt at first like culture shock to experience the differences between the Northeast and South. Our piece 40412 explores what it means to actively create and choose your home and what it means to be from a place. 404 is the area code for Atlanta and 412, the code for Pittsburgh,” said co-creator Sheryland Neal. “As a born and raised Pittsburgher, I’m excited to share my city and stories, but also be honest with the realities of what Pittsburgh needs to continue to improve for their residents,” added Livefromthecity. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    40412 is presented as a work in progress at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, November 5 and Saturday, November 6 at 8:00pm. 

    Tickets for 40412 are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

     

    ABOUT THE ARTISTS

    Jordan Howard, (aka Livefromthecity) is a hip-hop songwriter, producer, studio engineer, and part-time arts educator located in Pittsburgh, PA. Howard is the co-founder of Pittsburgh’s “Sun Fest”, an annual hip-hop festival that features some of the city’s best in hip-hop talent, and is hand-curated and produced by Howard himself. Through his work on “Sun Fest”, Howard has received more opportunities to produce concerts including “The Glow Up” in collaboration with Max Gonzalez, and “School House Rock!” with Community Forge. His most notable work has been with 1Hood Media, where he served as a teaching artist for 3 years and a brief stint as creative director. It was through 1Hood, that Howard gained a deep passion for working with young creatives, and an even deeper passion for hip-hop. “1Hood Media elevated my career to another level, and helped me discover my purpose beyond music; community empowerment.” Howard is known for his cultivation of the modern-day Pittsburgh hip-hop scene through his extensive catalog of material and his high level of stage performance over the years. He has been highlighted in publications such as Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh City Paper, and Jenesis Magazine as a stand out artist in the city. He has led songwriting workshops locally, and nationally as a member of 1Hood Media including Allied Media Conference in Detroit, as well as Shuman Detention Center in Pittsburgh.

    Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Sheryland Neal has a background in performance, theatre, and broadcast journalism. She holds a MFA in Film and Digital Technology from Chatham University and Bachelor’s degree in Communication from Central State University. Sheryland is a former assistant artistic director of Timbeleza and a performing member of the Pittsburgh samba Group. Recent travels include expeditions to Santiago, Havana, Trinidad, and Holguin, Cuba, and a residency in Brazil (Rio de Janeiro and Salvador). While in Salvador in 2018, she competed in the 39th Noite da Beleza Negra hosted by Ilê Aiyê –  making her the first foreigner and American to ever be approved to compete. In addition to working on creative projects with local and international companies, non-profits, and individuals, she is a prolific screenwriter, videographer, photographer, filmmaker, dancer, and documentarian.

  5. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Artists atiya jones and Adil Mansoor of Time Sensitive receive $100,000 Arts Equity Reimagining funding supporting queer and BIPOC artists

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, September 29, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater celebrates Time Sensitive collaborating artists Adil Mansoor and atiya jones for receiving $100,000 in funding support from Arts Equity Reimagined. 

    Fiscally sponsored by Kelly Strahorn Theater, Time Sensitive is an artist residency which will provide two emerging queer, trans and/or BIPOC artists partial financial support over the duration of one year, allowing each artist time and space to commit to professional development. The program is a response to the creative exploratory hours artists lose as they participate in the gig economy, in turn providing direct financial support and creative liberty as participants navigate pathways out of the notably unsustainable gig economy. 

    Time Sensitive argues that time is a luxury most often afforded to artists coming from privileged backgrounds, which given our societal history, tend to be white. Cultural isolation affects the mental health, and therefore the productivity of queer, trans, and BIPOC artists. Time Sensitive hopes to build a more equitable arts economy by acknowledging these disparities in our community and addressing them directly.

    Artists atiya jones and Adil Mansoor were brought together, first by a mutual friend, before bonding over cultural exhaustion and feelings of institutional isolation. As BIPOC and queer creatives, they are often the marginalized voice that offers “diversity” in the room. Their lived experience is an advantage for any white-led organization, however there isn’t a system in place to compensate them for that. Their mutual desire to tell and depict their stories first hand without counter-cultural filtration or exploitation bonds them in this collaboration. They share a strong desire to create for the interests and needs of their communities, as opposed to meeting financial obligations. This opportunity would be the first of its kind for the artists. 

    Time Sensitive projects will take place during 2021-2022. Keep up with the artists by following atiya jones at atiyajones.com and Adil Mansoor at adilmansoor.com. 

    About the Artists

    atiya jones is a multidisciplinary visual & conceptual artist, exploring themes of human connection, gentrification, migration and isolation, while visually depicting accumulative actions / community presence through her WildLines. She utilizes her artwork to create and hold discourse centering the Black-experience she’s had, as an artist, woman, transplant, and wanderer. 

    In Pittsburgh some of her public installations can be found throughout the East End at Crown Barbershop, Fieldwork Gallery, The Carnegie Museum of Art in “Locally Sourced,” Trace Brewery, Tryp Hotel, Knotzland, Moss Architects and the former Regent Square Theater. Previous clients include Pantene Pro-V and Head & Shoulders, Old Blood Noise Endeavors, and restaurants The Vandal and Speedy Romeo (NY). http://www.atiyajones.com/ 

    Adil Mansoor is a theatre director and educator centering the stories of queer folks and people of color. Directing projects include Gloria by  Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Hatch Arts), Chickens in the Yard by Paul Kruse (Hatch Arts and Quantum Theatre), Desdemona’s Child by Caridad Svich (Carnegie Mellon University), Dark Play or Stories for Boys by Carlos Murillo (Carnegie Mellon University), Through Broken Doors, an ensemble generated digital archive (Pittsburgh Playhouse), and an upcoming production of Will Arbery’s Plano (Quantum Theatre). Adil is currently developing Amm(i)gone, a solo performance adapting Sophocles’s Antigone as an apology to and from his mother. Amm(i)gone is National Performance Network (NPN) Creative and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, The Theater Offensive, and NPN.   

    Adil has developed and directed new work with NYU, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, The Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, and PearlArts Studio. He is a founding member and resident director with Pittsburgh’s Hatch Arts Collective. As an educator, Adil has worked with Sarah Lawrence College, Point Park University, Middlebury College, The Mori Art Museum, The Andy Warhol Museum, and more. He was the Programs and Artistic Director for Dreams of Hope, an LGBTQA+ youth arts organization in Pittsburgh for over 5 years. He is an alumnus of DirectorsLabChicago and Quantum Theatre’s Gerri Kay New Voices program. He is a 2050 Directing Fellow with NYTW for the 2020-2021 season. Adil received his MFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University. https://www.adilmansoor.com/

    About Kelly Strayhorn Theater 

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater is a non-profit community performing arts center in East Liberty,  advancing live art through strategic vision and community collaboration with two venues running along Penn Avenue. KST’s Alloy Studios is a cultural hub in the heart of East  Liberty, and the historic Kelly Strayhorn Theater is located in the thriving business district. More than 20 years after its founding, KST continues to use its broad reach to impact the contemporary arts and the community. 

  6. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s Freshworks program welcomes artists Ty Greenwood & Cherish Morgan in Death Dream

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, SEPTEMBER 22, 2021 – Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present the first Freshworks residency showing of the 2021-2022 season, Death Dream by Ty Greenwood and Cherish Morgan, October 1-2, 2021 at KST’s Alloy Studios. 

    Originally from Pittsburgh and now residing in Seattle, Washington, Ty Greenwood is a playwright whose work addresses community, diversity, and togetherness. Cherish Morgan is a Pittsburgh-based choreographer and performing artist who works across dance forms with an emphasis on hip-hop and musical theater practices. The artists’ collaboration, Death Dream, explores the choreopoem form to delve into the power of spoken word and political performance art that is unapologetically Black and radical. 

    Choreopoems are defined as a nontraditional artistic expression combining music, art, dance, and poetry, first coined by artist Ntozake Shange in describing her work For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf. Death Dream explores the mental experience of Black men and serves as a public service announcement that America doesn’t value their Black bodies. When this piece was first conceived, it was rooted in a lot of anger and frustration. Throughout the last year, the  focus of the choreopoem has shifted from solely being rooted in Black pain & anger to now showing elements of Black joy & hope,” said Death Dream co-creator/writer Ty Greenwood. 

    The piece is also inspired by W. E. B. DuBois’s writings on the idea of double consciousness, defined as the “internal conflict experienced by subordinated or colonized groups in an oppressive society” in his 1903 work The Souls of Black Folk. 

    Freshworks is KST’s creative residency for Pittsburgh based artists and collaborators. The program provides artists with financial resources, studio space, production staff, lighting and sound design, professional development, and encouragement for creative risk taking. through interdisciplinary collaborations in contemporary dance, theater, music, and multimedia.

    This work-in-progress preview of Death Dream will premiere at KST’s Alloy Studios, located at 5530 Penn Avenue, on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2 at 8:00pm. 

    Tickets for Death Dream are now on sale at kelly-strayhorn.org or can be purchased in person at the event. Pricing is Pay What Makes You Happy!, a sliding scale of accessible price points in order to truly welcome all to enjoy the arts. 

    For full season details, COVID policy updates, and tickets, go to kelly-strayhorn.org.

  7. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Celebrate #BlackGirlMagic with CIRCLES, co-presented by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center and Kelly Strayhorn Theater

    PITTSBURGH, PA, September 17, 2021 – The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) and Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) have teamed up to co-present CIRCLES, a multi-faceted, multi-part project by STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos (SPdp&SS), beginning with CIRCLES: reclamation, a group visual art exhibition featuring work by Black women, and culminating with CIRCLES: going in, an evening-length dance performance on October 28-30, 2021 at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. 

    CIRCLES: going in is a full-length dance work celebrating #BlackGirlMagic. Layering dance, visual arts, and a live original score, the work presents snapshots of popular culture through choreographer Staycee Pearl’s lens as a Black woman

    “CIRCLES: going in is life lived and observed by me as I take this creative opportunity to honor all that makes up who I am,” said Staycee Pearl, Co-Artistic Director of SPdp&SS. 

    Featuring dancers Jessica Marino Mitcham, Chandler Maria Bingham, & LaTrea Derome,  CIRCLES: going in is a colorful, unapologetic, and daring path to self-reclamation amplified by an original soundtrack created by Herman “Soy Sos” Pearl in collaboration with a diverse roster of club artists, such as Yah Lioness, DJ Haram, Madame Dolores, Kilamanzego, and Kha’DJ, DOTGOV, & more. This project is particularly special because SPdp&SS has garnered support for CIRCLES: going in from the New England Foundation for the Arts’ [NEFA] National Dance Project Production Grant, a highly competitive award of $56,500 for the creation of the new work and its upcoming national tour. Additionally, the National Performance Network (NPN) named the dance company as 2020 recipients of its Creation and Development Fund Project co-commissioned by KST, The Joyce Theater (NYC), and NPN (New Orleans) that “supports the creation, development, and mobility of new artistic work advancing racial and cultural justice and resulting in live experiential exchange between artists and communities.

    “We are proud to work with the August Wilson African American Cultural Center to celebrate the joy and magic of Black womanhood. The development of CIRCLES: going in has taken place through KST and PearlArts’ two-year mutual-aid residency through which they have conducted most rehearsals and daily classes at KST’s Alloy Studios and will finalize the technical elements of the work through a production residency in October prior to the works premiere at AWAACC. We are so excited to see the great art they continue to create in, with, and for our community,” said Joseph Hall, Executive Director of Kelly Strayhorn Theater. 

    The CIRCLES project begins October 9 and continues until October 31 with the CIRCLES: reclamation art exhibit, located at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center at 980 Liberty Ave. Featuring Black women visual artists including Staycee Pearl, Bekezela Mguni, Kitoko Chargois, and sarah huny young, works will draw from their shared explorations of Blackness and self-reclamation. 

    In collaboration with CIRCLES, STAYCEE PEARL dance project & Soy Sos launched the #ThroughOurEyes social media campaign, inviting Black women to post photos, videos, and stories that share their vision of beauty and perspective of life. Learn more about the campaign on Instagram by searching the hashtag #throughoureyes. 

    For more information and ticket sales, visit aacc-awc.org/event/circles-going-in.

    CIRCLES is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, The Joyce Theater, and NPN. More information: www.npnweb.org. CIRCLES was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Co-commissioning Partners are Kelly Strayhorn Theater, August Wilson African American Cultural Center, and The Joyce Theater. The development of CIRCLES is made possible in part by the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron (NCCAkron). CIRCLES is supported in part by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s Advancing Black Arts in Pittsburgh Fund, Heinz Endowments, and The Opportunity Fund.

  8. KST In the News: Fall Season

    Anticipating our exciting fall season at KST, we are proud to share the following coverage:

  9. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Discover Mister Rogers’ mindfulness teachings in the art film SWITCH SIGNAL, by artist collective Propelled Animals presented by Kelly Strayhorn Theater

    EAST LIBERTY, PA, SEPTEMBER 15, 2021 – In collaboration with the creative collective Propelled Animals, Kelly Strayhorn Theater is proud to present SWITCH SIGNAL Friday, September 24 at 7:00 pm. 

    Commissioned by Kelly Strayhorn Theater, SWITCH SIGNAL is a site-responsive film rooted in the technologies of imagination and mindfulness taught by Pittsburgh’s beloved Mister Rogers.  As a site-responsive art piece, the performers and creatives respond to the locations present, building interactions based on those sites. The film was shot both on location at Kelly Strayhorn Theater and throughout Pittsburgh, with moments in The Hill District and at the Carrie Furnaces, in June 2021. Conjuring the absent presence of community during the global pandemic, this work is about listening. The film includes movement, marches, choreographies, music, and rites as a love letter to Pittsburgh.

    The film will premiere at Kelly Strayhorn Theater, located at 5941 Penn Avenue in the heart of East Liberty, for one night only, Friday, September 24. Tickets are now available at kelly-strayhorn.org. 

    Propelled Animals are a collective of artists, dancers, scholars, musicians, and designers, bringing communities together for performances that honor nature, foreground radical tenderness, and deliver strategies for self-empowerment. The creative team includes: Esther Baker-Tarpaga of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Barber of Detroit, Michigan, Heidi Wiren Bartlett of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Raquel Monroe of Chicago, Illinois, and Courtney Jones of Boca Raton, Florida. 

    To ensure a comfortable return to in-person programming for our audience, artists and staff, KST has adopted several safety measures for all upcoming performances. Masks are required for all audience members, regardless of vaccination status. Seating capacity has been reduced to 50% and all performers are required to present a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance. For more details on SKST’s full COVID-19 safety protocol please visit Kelly-Strayhorn.org/covid.

    This project is made possible with support from The MAP Fund, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and by the National Performance Network’s Artist Engagement Fund.

    Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s fall season continues with a robust and exciting lineup of art, music, dance, and more! Learn more at kelly-strayhorn.org.